Projects

Project Team: The Museum of The Black Watch, Perth

Project Title: This Happens In War

The Museum of The Black Watch will gather and record personal histories from members of this legendary regiment. Stories from local veterans who served during World War II and subsequent conflicts will illustrate many facets of the Regiment’s experiences. The Museum will be involved in training young people in the art of collecting oral histories and will involve the YMCA in thios respect. The YMCA is keen to collaborate and promote local Black Watch veterans as role models to the young people with which it works. The culmination of the project will be a DVD and an exhibition aimed particularly at the younger generation and shown throughout the Regimental area.

Exhibitions in this Project:

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"So I joined the Black Watch" Volunteers and conscription

Some men volunteered to be soldiers. Conscription was introduced in1939. That year young men were made to join the Territorial Army. There were fears of another War. On 1st September 1939 these men were called out. After the War started men were conscripted into the Services. Women began to be conscripted in 1941. This exhibition relives the story of volunteering and conscription into the Services through the reminiscences of Dave Hutton, Harry Ruthven, Bob Smith, George Arnott, Ruth Mathewson, Elizabeth Cumming, Ronnie Cameron, Tom Renouf, Ian Critchley, David Arbuthnott and Graham Pilcher. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time. view project

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“This country is at war with Germany” The Day War Was Declared

Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister declared war against Germany, on 3rd September 1939. This exhibition relives the stories of being called out for military service through the reminiscences of Bob Smith, Harry Ruthven and Bob Hoggan. It also relives the memories of that fateful day through the reminiscences of Ruth Mathewson, Tom Renouf, Ian Critchley, Elizabeth Cumming, David Arbuthnott and Harry Ellis. It also explores photographs and documents of that time.view project

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"There wis nae pictures and nae chip shops" The War at Home: bombs and evacuees

In the War at home there were sirens, bombers and air raid shelters. All children were affected at home by the War. Many children were evacuated from cities into smaller towns and rural areas. But life went on in the home and at school. This exhibition relives the story of young people who lived during the war, through the reminiscences of Ian Agnew, George Arnott, Ian Critchley, Elizabeth Cumming, Tom Renouf, Jim Anderson, David Arbuthnott, Ronnie Cameron and Ruth Mathewson. It also explores photographs, documents and artefacts of that time view project

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“We just had to get on, my mother and I” The War At Home: rationing and internees

In the War at home there was rationing and internment. Many parents were serviceman, policemen and farm workers. All children were affected at home by the War. Some children’s parents were removed to internment camps. There was rationing, sirens, bombers and air raid shelters. But life went on in the home and at school. This exhibition relives the story of young people who lived during the war, through the reminiscences of Ian Agnew, George Arnott, Ian Critchley, Elizabeth Cumming, Tom Renouf, Jim Anderson, David Arbuthnott, Ronnie Cameron and Ruth Mathewson. It also explores photographs, documents and artefacts of that time view project

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“So what were they to do with these Wrens?” The Wrens – The Women’s Royal Naval Service

Women volunteered for and were conscripted into the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS). The women were knows as Wrens. This exhibition relives the stories of Wrens through the reminiscences of Ruth Mathewson and Elizabeth Cumming. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time. view project

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"My flea bit dugout in Tobruk" The Battle for North Africa

Rommel’s Afrikakorps was pressing the British forces hard in Egypt in 1941. The tide turned at the Battle of El Alamein. The Germans were then driven west across North Africa. This exhibition relives the story of driving the Germans out of North Africa through the reminiscences of Dave Hutton, Bob Smith and George Arnott. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time view project

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“I marched and fought with the Desert Army” Driving the Afrikakorps out of North Africa

The British 8th Army drove the Germans west through Libya, after the Battle of El Alamein, in October 1942, when the Germans were defeated. In 1943 the British and US forces drove the Germans out of North Africa. This exhibition relives the story of driving the Germans out of North Africa through the reminiscences of George Arnott. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time view project

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“Sorry lad, that’s the coast of France” The Battle for Normandy

The 51st Highland Division was part of Operation Overlord - D Day - in June 1944. It crossed the English Channel and landed in Normandy. This was the D Day landing. There was fierce fighting on the beaches and in the bridgehead. This exhibition relives the story of landing on the beaches in Normandy, through the reminiscences of George Arnott, Tom Renouf, Ronnie Cameron and Graham Pilcher. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and objects of the time. view project

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"They got a huge reception at St Valery" Breakout from Normandy

The 51st Highland Division broke out of the Normandy Bridgehead in August 1944. It quickly advanced to the River Seine. It was then sent to liberate St Valery-en-Caux. This exhibition relives the story of the Normandy breakout through the reminiscences of George Arnott, Ronnie Cameron, Tom Renouf and Graham Pilcher. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artifacts of that time. view project

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“I’m going to die from the cold here” The Battle for Holland and Belgium

The Allied Armies drove the Germans into Holland in 1944. There was fierce fighting along the Dutch canals. The Allies armies were on the verge of entering Germany. The Germans made a counter-attack through the Ardennes Forrest. This exhibition relives the story of the Allied winter offensive in Holland and Belgium, through the reminiscences of Grahm Pilcher, Ronnie Cameron, George Arnott and Tom Renouf, who fought their way towards Germany It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time view project

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"This was their last stand before the Rhine" The Battle for the German Border

The Allied Armies pushed the Germans back to the German border in February 1945. The 51st Highland Division was involved in fierce fighting in the Reichswald and at Gennep, in Holland, and at Goch, in Germany. This exhibition relives the story of the Battles for Gennep and Goch, through the reminiscences of George Arnott, Tom Renouf and Graham Pilcher It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time view project

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"It only took a few minutes to cross" Crossing the River Rhine

The 51st Highland Division crossed the Rhine on 23rd March 1945. General Montgomery had feared that the Germans would make a determined stand at this difficult crossing. Everywhere along the front the Allies advanced and fought their way into positions of the east bank. This exhibition relives the story of the Crossing of the River Rhine, through the reminiscences of Ian Critchley, Graham Pilcher and Tom Renouf. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time view project

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"So that was the end of my war" The Allied Armies' victory in Europe

The 51st Highland Division advanced into the heart of Germany. After the crossing of the Rhine, it drove east and north towards Bremen and Hamburg. The German High Command surrendered on 6th May 1945. The war in Europe was over. VE Day was celebrated on 8th May 1945. This exhibition relives the story of the last days of the war, through the reminiscences of Ian Critchley, Graham Pilcher and Ton Renouf. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time. view project

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"It was easier to put me in the Black Watch" National Service

In 1948 the National Service Act was passed. It made all young men liable for National Service in the armed forces. Service could be deferred, if a person was an apprentice or in full time education. Young men were sent to units at home and abroad. Some of those, in the Black Watch, were sent to the War in Korea and then to Kenya. National Service ended in December 1960. This exhibition relives the story of National Service through the reminiscences of Derek Halley, Jack Erskine, Harry Ellis, Jim Anderson, Bob Mitchell, Alasdair Masson and Ian Agnew. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time. view project

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“We were off to war again in Korea” Defending the Main Line of Resistance

Defending the Main Line of Resistance The Black Watch played a vital role in maintaining a defensive position with telephone communications and transport links against the Chinese through the bitter winter of 1952-52 and the summer of 1953. This exhibition relives the story of getting to Korea and defending the Main Line of Resistance, though the reminiscences of Ian Critchley, David Arbuthnott, Jack Erskine and Derek Halley who fought in the front line. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time. view project

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“There were rats running all over the place” Living in the front line in Korea

Living in the front line in Korea, The Black Watch played a vital role in maintaining a defensive position with patrols out in no man’s land to guard against Chinese attack through the bitter winter of 1952-53 and the summer of 1953. This exhibition relives the conditions of living in the front line and in reserve positions, through the reminiscences of Ian Critchley, David Arbuthnott, Jack Erskine and Derek Halley. It also explores various photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of the time. view project

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“All these Chinese coming in in Korea” The Black Watch at the Battles of the Hook

At the Battles of the Hook in Korea, The Black Watch was in the front line when the Chinese attacked in November 1952 and May 1953. This exhibition relives the two battles of the Hook and the fighting at Yang Dong, through the reminiscences of Ian Critchley, David Arbuthnott, Derek Halley and Jack Erskine. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time. view project

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"The complete warrior" The Black Watch in Kenya

In the 1950s a group known as the Mau Mau in Kenya began killing Europeans and Africans. A State of Emergency was declared in Kenya. British troops were sent to subdue the Mau Mau. This exhibition relives the story of the Kenyan Emergency, through the reminiscences of Derek Halley, Bob Mitchell, Jim Anderson, Jack Erskine, David Arbuthnott and Harry Ellis. It also explores photographs, maps, documents and artefacts of that time. view project